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Fiancée of Sandy slaying suspect says he's innocent

Published August 7, 2012 10:53 pm

Authorities say they are "comfortable in charging [Vasquez] with homicide."
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The fiancee of a man arrested in Sunday night's fatal shooting in Sandy says he's innocent.

"I know he didn't have a gun," Valerie Jansen said Tuesday of Alex Vasquez. "I know he didn't kill that man."

The shooting resulted in the death of Paul J. Giovale, 41, and the arrest of parolee Vasquez, 24, on suspicion of murder. He has yet to be formally charged.

In an interview, Jansen said the last time she saw Vasquez was around 6 p.m. Sunday. He told her he wanted to work on his silver Chevy Blazer that night.

She said Vasquez was working on his car in the garage at 80 E. 8640 South with his uncle, Simon Vasquez, and Simon's girlfriend. What happened next, she heard from Simon's girlfriend and others who were at the house when the shooting began.

Three to four men — including Giovale — came in through the side gate of the house, entered the garage uninvited and opened fire, she said. There are bullet holes all over the garage, Jansen said.

Jansen said she had never seen the man who died. She also said that Alex Vasquez was not friends with Giovale.

"[Giovale's] intent was to harm our family, for what reason only God knows, but their intent was to come in and harm our family," Jansen said.

Jansen wants to know where the other men who invaded their home are and why her fiancee was targeted.

In a probable cause statement, police said Alex Vasquez got into an argument with a group of people in the garage, Giovale drew a gun and Alex Vasquez got a gun out of his car.

According to police Sgt. Jon Arnold, Alex Vasquez left the scene after the shooting and was found walking around Midvale after he crashed Giovale's Suburban into a fence.

Alex Vasquez was convicted in 2007 in state court of unlawful possession of a vehicle and escape from custody. He was in prison from 2008 to January of this year, when he was paroled.

He's been home almost seven months and doing well, Jansen said. "Everything he's supposed to do he does," she said, referring to the conditions of his parole.

Jansen describes Vasquez as passionate, giving and respectful.

In response, Arnold said Tuesday police are "comfortable in charging Alex with homicide."

The Salt Lake County District Attorney is reviewing the case and won't file charges for at least another week, Arnold said. The investigation into other suspects is ongoing.

jmccandless@sltrib.com